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Number of child abuse cases in Costa Rica reaches 5-year high

December 11, 2014

The number of cumulative cases of violence committed against minors in Costa Rica has reached the highest figure in the last five years, according to a report released Thursday morning by the National Children’s Hospital. To date, the medical center has registered 2,377 cases of child abuse this year alone.

So far in 2014, the San José-based hospital has attended to seven suspected cases of child abuse per day, up from four cases per day last year, according to the hospital’s director of social services, Ana Virginia Quesada.

According to statistics from that office, between 2006-2014 more than 20,000 minors were treated for some type of suspected abuse.

“One of the aspects that concerns us most is that the aggression we’re seeing is becoming increasingly more violent,” Quesada said.

Hospital officials reported that in the last three years 1,700 minors were injured due to negligence by adults. Of those, 578 cases occurred this year. Injuries included burns, poisoning, suffocation and trauma from sharp objects.

National Children’s Hospital Director Orlando Urroz called the figures alarming and said the situation has forced officials to review a strategic plan for 2015. They also will seek support from other government agencies.

Urroz said the first step will be to launch an awareness campaign in mass media aimed at providing families with preventive information. Officials also will seek the collaboration of church leaders and social groups to help detect cases of abuse in their communities.

The hospital will closely monitor abuse cases, issue quarterly reports and increase staff training regarding protocols for these cases, he said.

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